A/N: This is for the September Short Story. The theme is “Late”.
Caroline put the finishing touches on her makeup. She pursed her lips and expertly applied her lipstick. She patted her hair and gave herself a wink in the mirror.
“Not too bad honey,” She said aloud.
The doorbell rang and she invited in her parents and siblings. Everyone was happy and chatting. It was going to be a fun family evening.
“Are we going to play games?” her sister Adele asked.
“Probably, I just bought Pandemic. It’s cooperative so we all win together or lose together. I think you guys will like it!”
“No competition? That’s lame,” her brother Rob stated dryly.
“Well,” said Caroline, “We do get to save the world from plague and disease.”
Her brother cocked his head to the side thoughtfully, “Yeah, apocalypse stuff, that could be cool.”
“I think it sounds great,” Adele said.
“Honey, is there anything I can help with?”
“No Mom, just relax. I’m nearly finished in here.”
Caroline’s Dad walked up and gave her a squeeze. “Looks great honey! What time is Dan expected home?”
“He texted me about 40 mins ago. He said that the exam was grueling, but he felt very confident that he did well.”
“Wow, an attorney in the family. Honey I’m so proud of Dan,” her mom said with a warm smile.
“I know, he was very nervous, but he studied and we quizzed him and he felt fully prepared when he walked in to sit the bar exam this morning.”
Caroline put the finishing touches on the roast chicken. She added the sprigs of parsley and spooned the roasted potatoes, carrots and turnips onto the platter to surround the golden bird.
She carefully placed the meal in the center of the table. She set out the place settings and thoughtfully folded the cloth napkins.
Rob sat on the couch playing games on his phone while Caroline’s Dad flicked on the news and watched the traffic report, “Looks like there is an accident on I81, hope Dan doesn’t get delayed because of that.”
“Awww crud,” Caroline said looking at the meal ready to be eaten. She took out her phone and dialed Dan’s number. It went straight to voicemail as was customary when he was driving. “Double crud.”
Caroline put the platter back in the oven to keep warm while they waited.
Caroline looked at her watch, Dan was nearly an hour late. There was no denying he got caught up in that traffic. She just wished he’d turn his phone back on so she could get a rough estimate. She normally approved of their strict no phones while driving policy. However, in this case she was certain there wasn’t much he could do sitting in traffic anyway.
“Well, honestly I wanted this to be a celebratory dinner for his exam, but we can actually celebrate when he gets the official word he passed,” Caroline said in an effort to save the evening. “I’ll put aside some food for when he gets home. Let’s dig in now before the bird gets any drier.”
“Awww, sweetie, you worked so hard on dinner this evening too. It would have been such a great surprise for Dan. I’m sure he’ll be happy enough just to have a hot meal and the sweet gesture when he gets home,” her mother put a comforting hand on her shoulder.
“I know, and it’s not his fault of course. Stuff happens,” Caroline said with disappointment in her voice. “Ah well, it will be even better once he’s official right?” Caroline said shaking off the mood.
While the family chatted over dinner, there was a knock on the door.
“Uh oh! I wonder if Dan forgot his key?” Caroline laughed while heading for the front door.
(622 words, 10 Screenshots)